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The Hero of Blind Pig Island and Other Island Stories (English Edition) Formato Kindle
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PARTY GIRL, the first in the line up is plucky, comical, a little out there, with its crazy premise! Ever been to a reception introducing new employees to the core group where there is the sizing up, the scrutiny, and (gasp, the forbidden spiked punch? There were no lampshades on heads, but trust, they weren't needed!
With titles such as SEA SALT, GREEN BANANA MAN, WORMWOOD, DENISE, and THE HERO OF BLIND PIG ISLAND, among the others, I was intrigued, I laughed, I rooted for the characters and I enjoyed the crisp writing style of author Jimmy Olsen who could change the attitude and pace of each story with ease as he mentally took me to places where the sea breeze smelled just right, Mother Nature's violence couldn't deter a hurricane party, and the darkness of a Schoolmaster could be chillingly felt, as we were invited inside his mind.
Short on words, but long on detail, each tale is well-told, diverse and engaging! I found my favorite island story, and bet you will, too! Where has this gem been hiding? Perfect for the beach!
I would like to thank author Jimmy Olsen for providing me this review copy in exchange for my honest review.
That's a tremendous shame, because such readers will assuredly miss excellent contemporary works by talented authors.
A fantastic story collection by an equally gifted author is <i>The Hero of Blind Pig Island and Other Island Stories</i> by Jimmy Olsen.
Olsen offers twelve short stories, including the award-winning "Wormwood," each with some connection to water or ocean or the Caribbean islands threading them together in a well-planned compilation. Genres represented range from romance to suspense, many with well-researched cultural contexts, such as "Sea Salt," about a young boy whose elderly mentor works to prize salt crystals from evaporated ocean water.
The stories also represent a wide continuum of tones and voices, some more serious and weighty than others, but most with either outright humor or an undercurrent of wry wit. "Party Girl," for instance, the first short in the collection, takes a tone of dry wit toward its contents but ends more poignantly than might be expected, according to Olsen's masterful writing style.
On the other hand, "Wet Passage," one of the weightier stories, has glances of humor, but its tone is decidedly opposite that of "Party Girl" --- far more focused, serious, and even darkly ironic.
Olsen's style vacillates from simple and straightforward, as in the short story "Denise," about a young woman told from the perspective of her first dive master, to almost literary, especially in its descriptions of the island settings, described with such detailed care that it's obvious Olsen has experienced each setting personally.
One sample of the evocative descriptions comes from "The Hero of Blind Pig Island," the short story that gives the collection its name: "Dark heavy mountains f cloud rose from the far end of the lake, towering into the summer sky, white tops swelling against the blue. Below, in their dark bellies, flashes of lightening [sic] brought them to life, storybook dragons born in a treacherous sky" (117).
Olsen writes with such straightforward honesty and precision that it's no surprise he's had a long career in the writing industry. I turned pages with delighted expectation, eager to see what new twist or unexpected characters would come next.
It takes a great deal to write a masterful short story, to fit all the traditional standards of long fiction (plot, tone, diction, voice, character development, setting, theme) into a few thousand words. Jimmy Olsen's collection is a gem among its peers, published in the last ten years, and I am both gratified and honored to have been able to read and review the compilation.
I cannot recommend <i>The Hero of Blind Pig Island and Other Island Stories</i> highly enough, for its unique premises, lush and exotic (in every sense of the word) cast of characters, and compelling style. Olsen offers a truly worthwhile escape into an island-themed other world peopled with missionaries, party-goers, children, lovers, teachers, dive masters, and more.
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Title: <i>The Hero of Blind Pig Island and Other Island Stories</i>
Author: Jimmy Olsen
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/134EO1C
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this collection free from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinion I have expressed are my own.
Party Girl invites the reader to attend a party for teachers working in a tropical paradise. While the veteran teachers take bets on how long the new hires will last before being overwhelmed by the stress of the job, all in attendance drink an alcoholic punch with the main ingredient being pear juice because it hides the alcohol. Being a teacher myself and knowing what happens when groups of teachers overindulge I was greatly amused as the main character and his wife are forced to look out for a young woman who dove a little too deep into the punch bowl. What follows is a funny, yet realistic, night of partying where the main character makes his way around town with the passed out girl over his shoulders, keeping her safe from the relentless hordes of intoxicated men looking for an easy score.
While Party Girl is lighthearted and fun the next story, Denise, lands on the opposite side of the spectrum. Denise is a college girl when we first meet her, working her way through an introductory scuba class. Told in first person, Jimmy shows us how Denise comes in and out of his life, slowly progressive from a novice to expert and eventually surpassing Jimmy as a diver. The reader grows to love Denise and cheer her on when she leaves Minnesota and begins diving in Florida. But, just when the story appears to be reaching its highpoint, we learn the tragic ending. While the story is short, it is emotional and possibly the most powerful in the book.
Falling in the middle of these two tales is The Hero of Blind Pig Island. A grandpa has taken his grandson on a fishing and snorkeling trip to Blind Pig Island. It seems like a fun day of relaxation until a charter boat comes nearby and demands the old man and boy give up their small bay for the larger houseboat. While the boy is nervous, the old man is steel and proceeds to teach the intruders and his grandson a lesson in patience and dignity. In the end, the boy would learn how to be a courageous and good man by following his grandfather’s example.
As I stated earlier, I thought I would be unable to connect to these unique water based tales. I found I couldn’t have been more wrong. Jimmy writes with passion and clarity, humor and emotion. I highly recommend this anthology to lovers of short stories and anyone willing to take a chance on a new writer. Well done, Jimmy. I look forward to your next offering.
- Phil Bolos, Author of Fiend The Manifestation
The stories in this book are all unique in their own right. But all of them revolve around a story on an island, many really showcasing an ocean, and some a big lake. A few of them also intertwine some aspect of snorkeling or scuba diving. I have never done either one, but always wanted to and found this very interesting.
I don't want too give to much away about the book or the stories, but two of them in particular really stood out (to me anyway). One is called, "Reservado." I really liked this one. It kind of was a story, within a story maybe even within a story. It is about a woman looking back at her past, and one really interesting part was her and her boyfriend end up having to swim 12 miles in the ocean back to shore. I don't want to tell you too much, so you can read it for yourself, but it was really good.
Another one that I really liked is, "Revenge of the Schoolmasters." It is about a feud of sorts from between some of the faculty wanting higher up positions and even students getting in on it. It displays a conflict and how two teachers in particular get revenge and stop it. It is very interesting and I really enjoyed this story.
A lot of these stories I noticed also involved teachers/English Teachers and some take place in Dominican Republic. So reading about the author, and his background, I am left wondering if these are taken from his real life, or probably inspired by it anyway, which is cool.
I would recommend this book to you, it is very different from what I usually read, which is great to broaden your horizons
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